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Nightshade Crime Fiction Anthology: An Interview with Co-Author, Olusoji Obebe.

 


Fiery Scribe Review presents an interview with Olusoji Obebe, one of the co-authors of the PROFWIC Crime Fiction Anthology, Vol 1, themed NIGHTSHADE.

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Born in 2003, Olusoji Obebe is an emerging Nigerian poet, essayist and fiction writer, writing from Ondo State, Nigeria. He was longlisted in the African Human Right Essay Competition, 2021. He was a finalist in the Voice of Peace Intercontinental Poetry and Short Story Contest, 2021. He also appeared, in same year, as an outstanding contributor to the Sixth Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology.

Olusoji’s works have appeared on Fiery Scribe Review, Nnoko Stories and Terror House Magazine. When he is not writing, he does pencil and pen sketches.

He is 'Olusoji Obebe' on Facebook and 'olusojiobebe' on Instagram.


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Interviewer: Elisha Oluyemi (Editor-in-Chief, Fiery Scribe Review)

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How would you describe your love for crime fiction? And… when you saw the chance to enter for the PROFWIC Crime Fiction Anthology, how much of an opportunity did you regard it as? 


Olusoji: I've been writing stories exploring violence, crimes and death. But I didn't know I was writing what people call crime fiction until I joined PROFWIC. Writing in this genre fascinates me as much as crime incidents in Nigeria petrify people. I live in a country that  is unarguably a home of crimes. While technology advances in some other parts of the world, crimes increase here. In fact, strange crimes now evolve. Taking a fictional account of these really  fascinates me. And when I received that my short story, Pretty Death, has been accepted into the crime fiction anthology, I smiled broadly. "This is really a big push into the world of crime fiction writing,” I boasted.


Do you write in other genres?


Olusoji: Yes. I also write in the Nigeria-made-so-esoteric African fantasy, and then the literary genre. You know, the literary genre is now the prevalent genre in Nigeria, today.



How long does it take you to write a short story?


Olusoji: It depends on the word count. For 3,000 to 5,000 word count, it takes me 5 days to 3 weeks. But below the above word count, I can finish a short story within 48 hours.


Have you published any other crime fiction apart from Pretty Death? 


Olusoji: No. I hope so, though.



What inspired the title of your work? 


Olusoji: I'm the type who would always want to craft a catchy title. Interestingly, a character—Jessica—inspired the title. I can't wait for you to meet Jessica in the pages of Pretty Death. By then, you would know how her role inspired the title. In the world of crime, some deaths are pretty requisite to come by.



Short stories differ greatly from novels in terms of length, depth, scope, and so on. Do you often make outlines for your short stories, or since it's of a very limited scope you just delve into the writing and see where it leads you?


Olusoji: No, I seldom draft outlines. I just delve in and write as much as my creativeness permits. It's an enthralling thing for me, even. But after allowing my muse to empty all it has, I would revisit the story and make necessary adjustments.



Pretty Death features a villain that is much of a representation of devious individuals in society. On top of that, like most bad folks, your villain also has a painful past. Say, how well would it interest you to write a villain that is just evil for evil’s sake—y’know, without any traumatic past or vengeful motivation?


Olusoji: Perhaps, that day, I'd have taken some booze. (Laughs.) It's unusual. Maybe because writers believe that, as humans, people will only commit crimes as a recompense to the evil done to them. Yet, this is not completely true. Now, a villain that's just evil for evil's sake? It means I'll need to character the devil himself.


Even with the obvious lack of facilities to help clamp down on crime in Nigeria, it’s great to see Pretty Death make crime investigation a not-impossible task through a combination of less forensics and a good deal of deductive reasoning. So, tell us, for a crime novel, which would you prefer: a forensics-backed investigation or an Agatha-Christie style? 


Olusoji: Even the Agatha-Christie style is, somewhat, forensics-backed. This has been debated in the crime fiction/murder mystery space, recently. Carla Valentine also talked about this in her Murder isn't Easy. But, I believe any writer can adopt any style to their utmost satisfaction to pull the required effects in their crime stories. For me, forensics-based investigation stands out. Because by giving clues of cause of murder to readers based on forensic examinations, it helps create suspense and red-herring which are both pivotal crime fiction tools. Interestingly, your detective-characters would also have something yet to rack their brains for. Apart from that, readers trust and relate more to the story than when the story is woven without a forensic background. But my use of less forensic information in Pretty Death is as a result of the inadequate scientific methods and technological innovations to unravel crimes in Nigeria (where the story has been set), just as you have conceded.


For you, what makes a good crime fiction?


Olusoji: For me, good crime fiction is one that can fool and intrigue me till I get to the last page, chapter or part where I'd hit the roof and say, "Wow. Never thought he could've been the one doing it!" Probably, this is why the mistress of misdirection, Agatha Christie, became a widely-read writer.



Have you ever got a negative review? How did you respond to it?


Olusoji: Yes, I have. But whenever I receive negative reviews, I muster much self-consolation. I revise where I've been lagging behind and what I've not been doing right. The truth is, negative reviews can weigh writers, especially budding writers, down. Yet, they are the strongest test for growth every writer should embrace.



How thrilling do you find writing a villain as a central viewpoint character?


Olusoji: With it, the story becomes more intriguing as everyone will be on the lookout for the next line of action the villain is going to take. And here, you seize the moment to either play on your readers' intelligence with verbal/situational irony or open them up to the gore of the story. There are thrills in the gore too.



Is crime fiction complete without the active involvement of an investigative body?


Olusoji: How do crime stories succeed without a resolution? The resolution is the function of the investigative body. Though in some cases, the involvement of an investigative body may not be completely active.



Uhm… Do you have a work-in-progress—a novel you can’t wait to share with the world?


Olusoji: I have a story idea that would go well into a full-length novel. That, I purport to work on this year. For now, I can say I'm still gathering resources (all that writing a successful novel requires).


Who is your model crime novelist?


Olusoji: James Patterson. And for crime stories set in Nigeria, Stanley Umezulike, author of Ties That Bind, whose story is also featured in the anthology. It's such a honour. 



Crime Fiction is quite less-explored in a country like Nigeria, where preference is given to literary fiction and other dominant genres like romance and family drama. However, the PROFWIC Crime Fiction Anthology has proven to be a huge success for crime writers like you who I’d regard as pacesetters. How do you feel about this? 


Olusoji: Feel glad that crime fiction will soon  gain ground in the Nigeria literary space. I really feel glad about it. There are many writers and readers too whose hope for crime fiction will be lifted by reading NIGHTSHADE: PROFWIC CRIME FICTION ANTHOLOGY.



It’s great having you here, Mr Olusoji… Say, what one, two or three thing(s) would you ask a budding writer to do every day?


Olusoji: Read and write. Breathe. And because writing is an art and art thrives by process, do take your time (not the Nigerian 'take your time', please.) (Chuckles.) Thank you, Mr Elisha. The pleasure is mine.




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NIGHTSHADE, PROFWIC Crime Fiction Anthology Vol. 1, the maiden edition of anthologies by the global writing community, Prolific Fiction Writers Community, features six intriguing crime fiction short stories that will leave you breathless. 

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MEET THE INTERVIEWEE:


Born in 2003, Olusoji Obebe is an emerging Nigerian poet, essayist and fiction writer, writing from Ondo State, Nigeria. He was longlisted in the African Human Right Essay Competition, 2021. He was a finalist in the Voice of Peace Intercontinental Poetry and Short Story Contest, 2021. He also appeared, in same year, as an outstanding contributor to the Sixth Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology.

Olusoji’s works have appeared on Fiery Scribe Review, Nnoko Stories and Terror House Magazine. When he is not writing, he does pencil and pen sketches.

He is 'Olusoji Obebe' on Facebook and 'olusojiobebe' on Instagram.




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